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Crazy Heart

Crazy Heart is the movie equivalent of comfort food; reassuring, familiar, and easy to digest. It’s Jeff Bridges performance that makes it special…but then, he’s reason enough to see almost any movie. (He’s the best thing about the season’s most disappointing movie, The Men Who Stare At Goats.) Here, he plays a weather-beaten country…

singer named Bad Blake who’s written and sung a fair number of hits, but is now reduced to appearing at a bowling alley, while his protégé, Tommy Sweet (played, in a neat twist of casting, by Colin Farrell), is riding the gravy train. Blake is a mess; he drinks too much, and is careless in his behavior, but when he’s interviewed by a local reporter (Maggie Gyllenhaal) he takes a genuine liking to her and pursues a relationship with her and her young son.
First-time writer-director Scott Cooper (who adapted Thomas Cobb’s novel) flirts with cliché at every turn, but manages to keep his story and characters on track. And his actors, including Robert Duvall, who traveled this road in Tender Mercies some years ago, play everything simply and honestly. T Bone Burnett has written a handful of likable, listenable songs (with the late Stephen Bruton) that suit both Bad Blake and Jeff Bridges to a T. Crazy Heart may not be original, or memorable, but it’s a pleasure to watch Jeff Bridges inhabit this character and make it his own.

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